The Shortest Way
Reading Murakami at bedtime continues to provide insights. Here’s an example: “- As you know, water always flows along the shortest path provided to it. However, in some cases, the shortest path is created by the water itself. A person’s thoughts — they are like water.”
The metaphor visualizes ambivalence — the simultaneous presence of two opposite properties. There is no contradiction here, for the appropriateness of water’s particular “behavior” is determined by the balance of power and context. It is as if water is testing any obstacle for strength, so that, taking into account the consumption of energy, it can choose the best of the alternatives — to destroy or bypass.
Is the obstacle amenable to pressure? Good! All the power of the accumulated water in the dam rushes into a microscopic crack. A boulder in the path of the stream is irresistible? No problem! Water eagerly rushes around. Or it evaporates to condense elsewhere. Even if the rock turns out to be a boundless monolith, water will grind the rock for a thousand years. And what’s its hurry?
So a new facet emerges in the Buddha’s words, “Your suffering is caused by your resistance to what is. You have to make sure that what is in front of you is not the imaginary, but reality. Often an impregnable pile of circumstances tells us, “Don’t even think!” Sometimes this is true, and then it’s time to activate plasticity. But first it makes sense to examine the problem carefully to find its vulnerable point. Poke at it, and the problem is gone. How much time and effort is saved!
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